The Excursion Train, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (6 ratings)


On the shocking discovery of a passenger's body on the Great Western Railway excursion train, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck and his assistant, Sergeant Victor Leeming, are dispatched to the scene.

Faced with what initially appears to be a motiveless murder, Colbeck is intrigued by the murder weapon - a noose.

When it emerges that the victim had worked as a public executioner, Colbeck realises that this must be intrinsically linked to the killer's choice of weapon.

However, the further he delves into the case, the more mysterious it becomes. And when a second man is strangled by a noose on a train, Colbeck knows that he must act quickly.

Can he catch the murderer before more lives are lost?

Set in Victorian England and rich in historical detail, "The Excursion Train" will hold you captivated from the beginning to the end of its journey.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780749082376



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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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When a man's murdered body is discovered on an excursion train that had transported spectators from London to the site of an illegal fight, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck is under pressure to solve the case quickly. As he learns more about the dead man's identity, he begins to suspect that the motive for murder is connected to the man's profession as a public executioner. Colbeck believes that the murderer has plans for more than one victim. Can he find the killer before more lives are lost?I didn't like this second book in the Detective Inspector Colbeck series quite as well as the first book. All of the books in this series have something to do with trains. Trains were an essential part of the crime in the first book. However, the crime in this book could have occurred at any number of places other than on a train. The plot was contrived to fit the necessity of a railway connection for this series. Colbeck's character seemed a little flat in this book. However, there are enough interesting characters among the supporting cast to keep me going with the series. Since there are several references to events from the first book in the series, I would recommend reading at least these first two books in order.

Review by

Second in the "Railway Detective" series, Robert Colbeck and his partner Sergeant Leeming are back at it again, this time to investigate a strange murder which occurred on an excursion train. It seems that hundreds of people took a special train to reach a prize fight (illegal in the Victorian era) between two favorites; all reached their destination except the murdered man. It takes Colbeck and Leeming some time, but they eventually trace the identity of the dead man as being that of a former hangman, so there could be any number of people willing to do him in. It's up to Colbeck and Leeming to sort through a number of suspects to find out whodunit. This series is very light in tone, but is still an interesting and fast read. I especially enjoy the period details. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy historical mysteries, light British series mysteries and an easy read.

Review by

[2010-05-11] More Victorian railway police procedural. I liked this better than the first one -- more polished and a bit less info-dumping of the author's research.

Review by

A man's body is found on an excursion train that took passengers to an illegal fight. Inspector Colbeck who has garnered recognition as "the railway detective" because of a previous case is called to investigate. He and his sidekick Sgt. Leeming soon discover that the man was a hangman and believe that the method of death may indicate a connection to one of the persons he'd executed. Their travels lead them to the village of Ashford. There's soon a second murder on another train. Colbeck believes there could be a third if the culprits are not caught.I enjoyed this installment of the Marston series. Some of the minor characters are more interesting and fully developed than Colbeck though. This is a slight problem for those who return to the series after a couple of years or for those who have not read the first installment.

Review by

This second novel in the Detective Inspector Colbeck mysteries begins when a Great Western train leaves from Paddington to go to an illegal boxing match in Berkshire. Sam Horlock, a railway policeman and Ted Galway, the train guard are worried because they are carrying over 1000 working class, drunken men. When the train stops at its destination, most of the fight fans leave for the three-mile walk from Twyford Station to the venue of the fight between 'Mad' Isaac Rosen, a Bradford slaughterhouse employee and Bill 'The Bargeman' Hignett, a London barge worker. One man is left aboard, apparently asleep in a second class compartment. When the railway police try to wake him up, they find Jacob Bransby, a cobbler, garroted. <br/><br/>Railway Detective Robert Colbeck is tasked to find the murderer. He discovers that Bransby still has his gold watch and some gold coins in a hidden pocket in his trousers. His wallet is intact. Apparently, he has just moved his wife from Clerkenwell to Shoreditch. When Colbeck and partner, Victor Leeming discover that Jacob Bransby is really Jacob Guttridge, a public executioner, they know they will have more suspects than they can handle.<br/><br/>One of my favorite things about this series is that the crimes completely fit the Victorian period. Nothing is out of place in his books. Colbeck is a Scotland Yard detective, but his love of trains and his ability to solve the crimes committed on the railways sets him apart. The Excursion Train was excellent, and you could easily read it without having read the first one. I definitely plan to continue the series with the third book, The Railway Viaduct.

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